|A 15.5 pound male red fox taken Friday, December 30, 2011 with the Firestorm by FOXPRO|
In celebration of the one year anniversary of the Outdoor Blogger Network, there were a variety of field test giveaways sponsored by many well known companies. I consider myself to be fortunate to have won what I consider the grand prize as the Firestorm by FOXPRO found my number in the drawing.
My experience with predator hunting had been pretty much nil with this score, however I had been privy to several meaningful hunts and was very curious about purchasing an electronic game call for turkey, predator, and moose hunting. Little did I know that I would be receiving one of the higher end electronic calls on the market. Needless to say I was pumped and wanted to show my excitement in the field. So I began with calling a few crows and publishing this promotional video. Even with the comical nature of my efforts, it became apparent that this game call was a force to be reckoned with.
After a prompt arrival, I again was floored when the box not only had the call but a camouflage carry case, rechargeable batteries, and charger. The only glitch in my happiness was that open season on most local predators had not opened. I messed around with the call, did my research, and readied myself for fox hunting. It took me three calling sets to call in my first fox and sixth to score my first trophy male. Here are the journal entries for both of the fox hunts.
Monday, December 26th, 2011
Overcast, WNW wind, temperatures in the 20's coming off several days in the low teens.
Equipment- Shotgun, 3.5 inch Federal Turkey Shot #4, Foxpro Firestorm
I left the house around 1 p.m. for a few sets after doing some scouting. We have had little snow this year, but Christmas Eve and Santa brought just enough snow to show signs of life to the west of the cedar swamp. My set up position was south with the intention of hunting a NW crosswind. Positioned the call and raccoon tail cat toy to the north.
The set started with Field Mouse in Distress call at level 6, the wind was not excessively breezy but certainly a touch more than I would have liked. I opted to play the call for three minutes to begin with and then wait for several minutes, however within 2 minutes or so a big red fox surprised me.
Wearing glasses today seriously limited my peripheral field of view and my gun was positioned at 11 o'clock if the call were positioned high noon. The fox was no more than 15 feet to the east of the call (about two o'clock relative to my position). I tried to take a fast shot, but am not certain that I made that shot good enough. The fox had already picked me up and was turning upon my action.
Friday, December 30th, 2011
Overcast, approaching storm front due in several hours, mid 30's and light wind.
Equipment- Shotgun, 3.5 inch Federal Turkey Shot #4, Foxpro Firestorm
My father and I took our first set early at 1:30, set up on a point overlooking a sandy beach with grassy edge. Again, I started with the Field Mouse in Distress at level 5, called for one minute, wait for 4, then increase level. We invested 20 minutes for this set. Without success, we moved back towards our parking spot.
On our return, we set up near some glacial erratics in the woods in route to the truck. A short set of field mouse in distress for 30 second play took action, then waited two minutes, followed by a consistent increase in sound level. Again, no luck.
We took a break and I explained to my dad the reasoning behind the set in terms of timing and sound level. He seemed wary that my experience existed only with research and reading, but I felt confident especially with the support of a few of my predator hunting friends. So far, the best articles I have read were Calling Fox with the FOXPRO by Pete Hauer and Calling the Red Fox by Randy Buker. They both are very useful to the beginning predator hunter.
My father had heard reports of a large number of fox in a particular area, so we garnered permission of a marshy heath. Our setup would be under a tree, with the game call midway between us and the forest edge with frozen water and shadow grass (about 15 yards). The plan was to stay here awhile, so I started Field Mouse in Distress at level four and ran for one minute, then wait for 4 minutes. The sequence went like this...
Level 4:1 Minute: Wait 4 Minutes, Level 6: 1 Minute: Wait 4 Minutes, Level 8: 1Minute, Wait 4 Minutes.
Then, I decided to try the Kitten in Distress at level 6, within 40 seconds a large red fox sprang out of the trees and bolted for the call which had a cat toy mouse fixed to the Firestorm antenna. It stopped and hid in some grass just feet from the call as if to pounce, during this my dad kept whispering "shoot it, shoot it" and my retort, "I can't because I'll hit the game call". Finally I took the chance and fired the Xtrema2, the shot took the fox directly in the head for a quick kill.
So how does somebody with little experience gain immediate success? It's quite simple, get a good call. I could not have produced these results without a quality device like the Firestorm. However, it is very important to assert that a call needs proper utilization. For this, I read extensively on how to hunt the red fox, spoke with several friends who have had success, and practiced several times while noting my successes and failures.
At this point of the gear review, I'd like to mention the features I have tried with this high performance game call and comment on the overall performance of those features.
The FIRESTORM came with 50 high-quality sounds from FOXPRO's sound library and has the potential to store 150 more. The ability to download a variety of file formats (MP3, WAV, etc.) is a great feature, however the sound library only utilizes Windows PC in the program utility. For a MacBook owner like me, I must seek an alternative means to purchase and download any future sounds.
Dual Amplified Speakers
With the options to use one or the other speakers, or both allows you to tailor your calling as you see fit. So far I have run the call with both speakers and feel they certainly carry sound well while also maintaining a realistic and convincing sound. My red fox was shot 8 feet from the call at sound level 6, it certainly was committed to the quality audio from this product.
The FIRESTORM with the TX9 remote made for simple use. It has a well designed red back light LCD display that clearly shows the sound you are using with a timer and provides ample opportunity to make your next move. The buttons in cold weather were sometimes hard to engage in terms of selecting another call, muting the current call, or adjusting volume. However, the lit display and ease of use made up for the extra effort in sending the next command. You can choose to operate it manually from the controls located on the front, but I believe that using the remote will allow the effective user to set up away from the call and not alarm any early mover upon the first call. In addition, the manual display only shows what number is being played while the remote offers the type of call for selection.
Rechargeable Batteries & Charging System
I received a charging system that included FOXPRO's battery charger and rechargeable batteries. The system is absolutely smooth in terms of ease of use. Once you are finished hunting, you can plug the Firestorm in a wall charger and be ready for your next calling set in a few hours. The Firestorm has a charging indicator that is meant to go off, but I read in the owner's manual that it does not always signify this as I have on several occasions noticed this issue. If the batteries are hot, then the batteries are charged and the unit must be unplugged. This feature could be improved.
The Firestorm is a crystal clear game call that possesses remarkable clarity and range in the variety of calls provided. I certainly will all zeal recommend the Firestorm and I am proud to include that this fine product is also made in the U.S.A. with a limited 5 year warranty. It has been a joy to receive this electronic game call and be able to put it to great use in Washington County, Maine. Please click the link below to access the FOXPRO homepage and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.. For an update that includes video of a fox being called in, please click HERE.
FOXPRO High Performance Game Calls
Note: I received the FOXPRO Firestorm with a camouflage carry case, battery charger, and rechargeable batteries as a result of the one year anniversary of the Outdoor Blogger Network and the generosity of FOXPRO, Inc.- High Performance Game Calls. I, in no way shape or form, have any professional affiliation with the two before mentioned groups. I sincerely appreciate the gratitude of both parties and thank all hands involved for the opportunity to try such a product.